Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)

B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

A mineral exploration company with provincial permits to work in Tahltan territory in northwestern British Columbia is treading on sacred grounds, an elected leader in the nation’s government says.

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government.

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, he said.

“The Sheslay area was a major village site in pre-contact times and even nowadays we have many elders who were born in the Sheslay area. Many of our ancestors are buried out there,” Day said in an interview.

“British Columbia, Doubleview, we should all just save ourselves a lot of time, energy and conflict and get Doubleview out of there,” he said.

Doubleview has 10 mineral tenures covering about 63 square kilometres where “an aggressive 2021 exploration program is being planned,” the company said in an update posted online in February.

It said it expected to give shareholders a more complete assessment of the deposit’s value after verifying the results of

metallurgical sample analysis.

The Tahltan Central Government accuses Doubleview of failing to act in a manner consistent with both Tahltan protocols for the mining sector and with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Tahltan made “many reasonable attempts to work with Doubleview in a respectful manner,” the central government said in a statement in March.

But the company has a “track record of being disrespectful … including unsuccessfully taking legal action against Tahltan leaders and elders in 2015,” it said.

Doubleview “regrets the poor relationship that we have established” with the Tahltan, lead director Andrew Rees said in an email when asked about the conflict, and the company offered an apology letter after the nation’s public statement.

“Doubleview strives to be a responsible steward of the areas in which we live and operate, and continues to seek a positive, collaborative, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with the Tahltan Central Government.”

The Mines Ministry said Doubleview was first granted a multi-year permit in 2012 in a process that included consultation with the Tahltan Nation.

Laws and legal precedents concerning Indigenous rights and title have changed since then, said Day.

The B.C. government is now in the early stages of aligning its laws with the UN declaration after adopting it through legislation.

It requires governments to obtain free, prior and informed consent before taking actions that affect Indigenous Peoples and territories — which would include decisions on proposed mines and future exploration work permits.

The statutory adoption of the UN declaration means industry and the B.C. government must start building “processes that seek a genuine consent from Indigenous governments, communities and people,” Day said.

“And there’s a huge difference between having a conversation and calling it consultation versus having a robust consultation process that is aiming to get consent from Indigenous people.”

The Tahltan Nation has “excellent relationships” with the majority of mining and mineral exploration companies operating in its territory, Day noted.

There are three active mines — Red Chris, Silvertip and Brucejack — and the nation has impact benefit agreements with each of the companies.

“When you have Tahltan title and rights over 11 per cent of the province and you have jurisdiction over an area the size of Portugal, you don’t need to be supportive of projects that are in really culturally sensitive areas,” Day said.

The Tahltan has communication agreements with more than two dozen mining and mineral exploration companies allowing it to check in on their work as necessary, he said.

Day said Doubleview had refused to sign, though Rees said the company is now waiting to hear back from the nation after sending a written response about a communications and engagement agreement.

“We acknowledge that it has taken us much longer to do so than we would have liked and attribute the delay to internal miscommunication and lack of expert resources,” the Doubleview statement said.

“Our utmost priority right now remains getting back to the table … and doing so in a respectful and collaborative manner so that we can continue understanding Tahltan Nation’s ongoing concerns, which will allow us to collaboratively develop appropriate mitigation measures.”

Day, however, said the company has “chosen a path of conflict” with the Tahltan and he would oppose any further permits.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

First Nations

Just Posted

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers doused a hillside fire late Monday night, May 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue puts out hillside fire

No one was injured after a campfire got out of control below Columbia Drive

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

View of the red SUV down an embankment. Photo: Trail RCMP
High speed crash sends 4 people to Trail hospital

The collision happened May 14 at the intersection of Highway 3B and Devito Drive

Lauren Regula
Trail native comes back for a third Olympic Games

Trail native Lauren Regula is proud to represent her country in softball at Tokyo Olympic Games

X
Trail RCMP issue BOLO for Solo

Solo was last spotted in Warfield, but has also been seen around the Tadanac area.

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue’s Dave Paulett hoses down a section of a wooden retaining wall which caught fire Monday, May 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Fire starts in Grand Forks backyard after by oily rags left in sun

Flames put out before reaching home on 800-block of 72nd Avenue

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Most Read